Party Wall for Building Owner
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The Building Owner is an owner who wishes to undertake building works, which involves exercising rights provided by the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
The Building Owner must notify the Adjoining Owner(s) (where applicable) of the intention to carry out building works which are notifiable under The Party Wall etc. Act 1996. Notification is provided via Party Wall Notice(s). The Building Owner will need to appoint a Surveyor to administer the Act if the Adjoining Owner “dissents” to the Party Wall Notice.
Foundation Surveyors can act on behalf of the Building Owner, administrating the Act impartially, in order to achieve the smooth running of a project.
The Adjoining Owner has the right to appoint their own Surveyor if they wish. However, we would always seek to encourage the Adjoining Owner to appoint the Building Owner’s Surveyor as the Agreed Surveyor in order to minimise two sets of Surveyors fees which will be payable by the Building Owner.
I am a Developer
Depending on the size and complexity of the development, multiple Adjoining Owners can be affected by your development. Under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, Notice(s) will need to be served on all the Adjoining Owners and Party Wall Awards agreed (legally binding document between the two parties) with the Adjoining Owner(s) Surveyor(s) that are affected by the development. Failure to do so can lead to the Adjoining Owner(s) seeking an injunction against the development. This can adversely affect the construction program and jeopardise the project, as compensation claims can accumulate, which can lead to significant delays.
Foundation Chartered Surveyors can determine the number of Adjoining Owners that are affected by your development and provide you with a list of all the affected parties. We can also provide you with likely timescales to complete the procedures under the Act. This will ensure that you can factor in the costs and timescales from the outset, which will help to minimise unnecessary delays and costs.
Foundation Surveyors will endeavour to protect the position of the developer (Building Owner) under the remit of the Act.
For larger developments we can also provide you with a third-Party obligations report, which will detail all the Party Wall obligations, including comments on neighbourly matters, that need to be taken into consideration, such as neighbourly schedules of conditions, movement monitoring and boundary determination etc.
I am a Residential Homeowner
Residential homeowner carrying out domestic extensions, re-configurations, alterations means that proposed building work could be notifiable to the Adjoining Owners, under the Act. Thus, a Party Wall Award may need to be negotiated between the Building Owner(s) and Adjoining Owner(s) respective Surveyor(s). Read our “Is my project notifiable under the Act?” section for more information.
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Is my project notifiable under the Act?
Your work is notifiable if you intend to carry out the following works:
Domestic Residential Projects
Rear / Front / Side Extension
- Excavation for a new build extension in close proximity to the neighbour(s) property
- Building a new wall up to the boundary
- Building a new wall across or astride the boundary, forming a new Party Wall
- Demolition and rebuilding of garden walls
Works for Loft Conversion or Roofs
- Inserting beams into the Party Wall to facilitate a loft conversion.
- Exposing the neighbour’s property by removing sections of the Party Wall.
- Raising the Party Wall.
- Roofing works, including fitting flashings
- Removal of protrusions or chimney breasts
- Removal and insertion of beams, columns or loadbearing walls
- Removal of floors or ceilings
- Insertion of damp-proof courses
- Piling foundation works within close proximity to neighbouring properties.
- Underpinning the Party Wall or neighbouring property to safeguard their foundations.
- Demolition of garden walls.
- Excavating within three metres and to a lower level than neighbouring structures or foundations.
- Attaching or enclosing upon neighbouring structures.
- Propping up neighbouring Party Walls.
- Works to any adjoining Party structure including any overhang projecting over your land.
Works on or Astride the Boundary Line.
- Building a new wall up to the boundary.
- Building a new wall across or astride the boundary, forming a new Party Wall.
- Demolishing and rebuilding garden walls.
It is not always easy to establish whether your works are notifiable under the Act. Foundation Surveyors can help you ascertain if our work is notifiable under the Act.
Contact us today for some free and impartial advice from our experienced team of Surveyors.
How many Adjoining Owners will be affected by my construction work?
This entirely depends on the nature of the project, its size and complexity. Please note that if you are a leaseholder, you will need to acquire a License to Alter from the freeholder.
An Adjoining Owner for the purposes of the Party Wall etc Act 1996 is an owner or occupier of land with an interest greater than a yearly tenancy.
Notice must be served only on the Adjoining Owners that are affected by the building works, but not all the Adjoining Owners that exist.
Foundation Surveyors will ascertain how many Adjoining Owners are affected by your building works and identify only the Adjoining Owners that need to be served a Notice.
Contact us today for a free non-obligation quote, which will include the number of Adjoining Owner’s affected.
What are the timeframes and costs associated with the Party Wall Procedure?
This will depend on how quickly all the neighbours respond to the initial notices. If the neighbours do not respond to the initial Notices, after 14 days a subsequent 10-day letter is issued prompting them to appoint a Surveyor. If no response is received after 10 days then the Building Owner can appoint a Surveyor on their behalf.
If multiple Adjoining Owners have not responded to the initial Notice and the 10-day letters, then the Building Owner can appoint one Surveyor to represent all of the non-responding parties. This can save the Building Owner a significant amount of time and money.
Due to the time limitations stated above, it can take up to 24 days before a Surveyor can be appointed on behalf of the Adjoining Owner(s).
When Surveyor(s) have been appointed, access will need to be arranged for the neighbouring properties for Surveyors to carry out Schedules of Condition surveys. This type of Survey is undertaken to curtail the likelihood of spurious claims for damages against the Building Owner and similarly, to protect the Adjoining Owner’s interest.
Once Schedules of Condition surveys have been undertaken, and reasonable design information requested by the Adjoining Owner’s has been sent. It can take up to 3 weeks to resolve simple matters (basic refurbishments, loft conversions or single storey extensions). For more complex matters it can take between 4 to 8 weeks. However, basement extensions can take several months to conclude the Party Wall procedures due to the level of complexity involved.
Therefore, depending on the complexity of the project it can ultimately take anywhere between 2 to 6 months for the Party Wall Award to be agreed.
It is worth noting that Party Wall construction works cannot legally commence on site until the Party Wall Award is in place. Thus, it is beneficial to the Building Owner, if Party Wall Awards are agreed well in advance of the planned commencement of construction works.
Notice of Adjacent Excavation
If you intend to carry out excavation works within close proximity to your neighbour’s property, then you must serve a Notice illustrating your intention to do so, at least 1 month prior to when you anticipate carrying out the works.
Notices of Adjacent Excavation are concerned with works notifiable under section 6 of the Act.
There are two types of excavations that are covered under section 6:
- Excavating within 3 metres of your neighbour’s building and to a depth lower than the bottom of their foundations.
- Excavating within 6 metres of your neighbour’s building, if any part of that excavation intersects with a plane drawn downwards at an angle of 45 degrees from the bottom of their foundations, taken at a line level with the face of their external wall.
The notice must contain the same information as a Party Structure Notice but also be accompanied by plans and sections showing the extent of the proposed excavation.
The Act also gives both owners certain rights and obligations so that in the event of a dispute or difference (dissent), the appointed Surveyor(s) can resolve such matters by agreement in the form of a Party Wall Award.
With each of these types of notices the adjoining owner has 14 days to respond after which they are automatically deemed to be ‘in dispute’ and are obliged to appoint a Party Wall Surveyor.